Gift for Nursing Home Resident

  1. I've been on this site for some time now, and need the help of all of the LTC nurses that I've seen on this forum. (I'm a pediatric/perinatal nurse, so I am at a loss here.) My boyfriend's mom is 91 years old and in a nursing home. She's alert, spends most of her time moving around in a wheelchair, as she is unsteady on her legs. She is very small and thin. She doesn't really write much anymore. Her big problem is just being hard of hearing. Anyway, we live several states away, and want to bring her something that she can use when we visit soon, without cluttering up the small living area that she has. She seems to ahve enough clothes at this point.

    My question to the LTC nurses is...what are some good gifts for residents? Maybe something that you've thought "Gosh, I wish the family would give these to the resident." We hate to go empty handed, especially if there is something that she needs. Of course, she tells us she needs nothing, but is grateful for whatever we happen to bring.

    Any ideas?

    Thanks much in advance!
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    About Penguin67

    Joined: Feb '08; Posts: 285; Likes: 334
    RN; from US


  3. by   JB2007
    Good non-greasy lotion. Nearly all of my residents' skin is dry and very fragile. This makes them more likly to recieve skin tears from the slightest bump. The better hydrated that you can keep the skin the less likely they are to get skin tears. It seems like the nursing homes that I have worked at just do not have the nice lotions that are not greasy.

    Nice smelling soap and powder is always nice too. I do not know what it is about these little old ladies and their powder, but they really seem to like it.

    Also, a nice floral arrangement always brightens the room. A couple of my residents have family that live out of state and they send them flowers every week. You should see these ladies faces brighten up when they see those flowers sitting on their bedside table.

    Of course, you are already giving her the best gift of all, a visit from family is all most of these residents want anyways. Have a good time and enjoy your visit with your boyfriend's mother.
  4. by   southernbeegirl
    i agree. stuff that will make her feel girly again are big hits. and a pretty sweater that all the other girls can be envious of when she tells them yall brought it.

    personal things are the best gifts, IMO. they have so little that is still "theirs" once they move into a LTC. things like pictures, crocheted afghans, stuff to make her room pretty (even a nice lamp) are always great.

    cute shoes too! i ordered a pair of fuzzy slippers from Avon for myself and a patient. they were a huge hit! she wears them all the time and tells people that i got them for her.

    does she read? large print books are great too. many of our ladies pass books around and trade with each other.

    large print puzzle books are a big hit too. newspaper subscriptions are good too.
  5. by   lisamc1RN
    I agree with the others. Also, a nice lap blanket is very popular. A lot of the elderly people are cold all four seasons, so anything that will keep them warm is great! If you know the consistency and type of diet she's on, it's always nice to bring a treat of chocolates or her favorite candy.
  6. by   Quidam
    An organization I worked for did a service project each year that benefited the local nursing home. We collected items for the residents and took suggestions from the nurses there. One of the most requested items by the residents were nice smelling shampoos and conditioners, the ever popular powder for the ladies, and nice smelling lotions. A nice gift basket with some of these items would probably be ideal. I bet Bath and Body Works would have several nice items, add a nice shampoo and conditioner along with maybe a few special treats, fruits or flowers and I bet she would be thrilled. If you could all take a picture together while you are there, it would be nice to frame a copy for her and for yourself. Enjoy your time with her.

  7. by   fuzzywuzzy
    All these suggestions are good, but you should ask and make sure she actually could use them. I've seen some ladies who have like 5 pairs of slippers, for instance, and they only ever wear their favorite pair (because old people like to wear the same things over and over again! ), and then there are others who have no slippers, but 7 zillion housecoats.

    A bath puff and body wash or oil is always good too. It's nicer than a pile of washcloths and house brand bar soap.
  8. by   pers
    Speaking as a family member and not a LTC nurse, I'd like to give a vote to premade cards with stamped envelopes. Perhaps his mother is different, but for many of that generation sending cards and letters was an important part of keeping in touch with friends and family. As their health declines they aren't always able to do this as well even though the desire is still there. A variety of cards and stamped envelopes with a list of typed addresses and important family dates (birthdays, anniversaries, etc) may be a welcome gift. When an occassion comes up she could pick out an appropriate card and send it with just a little help from staff.

    Another great gift are the digital photo frames! There are some really nice ones out there and prices have really come down in the last year or two. They don't take up a lot of space and can display a ton of pictures!
  9. by   dekagirlsRN
    I agree with the above posts. Most of my residents LOVE their blankets --they're always cold, plus it makes their bed look like their own. I like the idea of a lap blanket altho haven't seen many use them. Maybe a nice large photo of her son (or children). Plants or flowers are good too because again it makes their room feel homey. I love the edible arrangements too. Another thing some residents have is a large clock hanging in their room--I'm always being asked what time it is. Most residents love to show everyone what they received from family members--always makes them feel special--so I'm sure she'll appreciate whatever you decide. What's her favorite meal? Perhaps you can bring it when you come (assuming she's not on any diet restrictions). As good as the cooking may be in a facility, nothing beats homemade meals, goodies, etc.
  10. by   llg
    My grandmother used to like it when we brought a box of chocolate and/or some Irish whiskey. They didn't give her that kind of stuff in the nursing home. :-)

    Are there any special food treats that she might like (and is allowed to have?) Maybe she would appreciate a little treat of some of kind. Check that she's allowed to have it first, though.
  11. by   Penguin67
    Thanks so kindly to everyone who responded. I appreciate the great ideas and I'll share them with my boyfriend. We get up to see her about twice a year and want to make the most of our time with her. If possible we plan to take her out in the car for a little bit, as she doesn't get out much.
  12. by   leslie :-D
    don't ltc facilities have hairdressers?
    maybe she'd like to get her hair done?

  13. by   TrishJK
    Here is what I wish my residents had so that I could help them better (that they hardly ever or never have unless they have constant son/daughter visits):
    1. shampoo and conditioner in one (they get too cold to do two separate rinses)
    2. BIG bottle of generic, cheap, fragrance free sorbolene in a bottle with a pump dispenser
    3. a chain for their glasses to hang around their necks so that they're not always losing them
    4. Packet of sweet biscuits and a cheap airtight container to hold them to hide in their dressers; packet of old-fashioned boiled lollies ditto
    5. Anything you give PUT HER NAME ON IT or it will be "borrowed" and she will never see it again
    6. A cheap electric radio (won't work for your relative but others will read this)
    7. photo of you and her together
    8. a manicure set that contains a file and a pair of clippers (don't forget the clippers!!!! - it's much easier to do the nails on an elder with shaking hands than are scissors).... this one should have been ONE. (Podiatrists only do feet - carers get to do fingers)
    9. long (knee length) warm, thick socks X 2 pairs (elders' feet are usually cold)
    10. A subscription to an easy-to-read ladies magazine and/or a newspaper is something to look forward to every day!!!
    11. a can of room deodorant spray
    12. If you can find one, a photo of her when she was young and pretty is a TERRIFIC conversation starter
    13. While you're there - ask her what else she needs - INSIST - you are going to the local store anyway, and since you have PLENTY of cash on you it is NO TROUBLE AT ALL!!! etc
    14. Lots of elders like marzipan (gawd knows why) and dried fruit with sugar on it
    15. SOMETHING TO STICK PICTURES UP ONTO THE WALL (so that they don't come down and get trodden on five minutes after you leave) - standing picture frames are a PAIN IN THE BUTT because she will have very little horizontal space for storing anything.
    16. Ring her on the telephone as often as you can - especially if she gets few/no other visitors - the carers will take the phone to her gladly - once a month would be great - you don't have to have news - make some up - tell her about what you've been cooking - it doesn't matter - help her keep her mind active and to feel loved - she will be surrounded by people who either get more visits than her (which will make her feel sad and lonely and forgotten - even if she's not) or fewer visits than her (which may make her feel sad for them and "at least I'm not one of them"). Loneliness and boredom sap your life out of your veins like a branch dies when it's been cut from the tree.

    The other suggestions were great too.
    Best wishes